6 best garden hoses of 2022, according to lawn and garden pros

You can spend $15 on a garden hose or ten times that amount. Given the basic task of a hose — transporting water from a spigot to a spray nozzle so that you can water the lawn, wash the car or douse the kids on a hot, summer afternoon — it’s tempting to go with the least expensive option. But after testing a slew of garden hoses, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute found serious variations in performance, ease of use and durability. While our top overall pick was the most expensive, other moderately priced picks performed nearly as well, and might even be the better choice depending on your situation.

To arrive at this roundup of winners, our experts spent more than 20 hours reviewing technical data, assembling the hoses and putting them through their paces at our backyard testing locations. We also checked in with landscape professionals who handle hoses all the time. “Each garden has different needs, so you need to choose your hose accordingly,” says Jim Russell, a horticultural instructor and garden creator who works throughout the northeast.

Our hands-on testing focused on usability, including how easily hoses connected to the spigot and nozzle. Testers also assessed maneuverability, noting any tendencies toward kinking or cracking, as well as the ease with which the hoses reeled in for storage. Durability was a third criterion, driven largely by material and construction. In the end, we settled on six top-rated garden hoses. They’re not all suited to every application, but somewhere in the mix is the perfect garden hose for you.

Our top picks



Best Overall Garden Hose

Rubber Garden Hose
Dramm

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Best Value Garden Hose

Light-Duty Garden Hose
Flexon Hose

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Best Expandable Garden Hose

Expandable Garden Hose
Knoikos

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Best Garden Hose on Amazon

Garden Hose
Flexzilla

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Best Heavy-Duty Garden Hose

PRO Garden Hose
BIONIC STEEL

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    Best Overall Garden Hose

    Rubber Garden Hose

    • Extremely durable
    • Excellent pressure
    • Crush-proof connections

    If you have a lot of landscaping to water — maybe spread out over a vegetable garden, foundation beds and lots of thirsty perennials — spending $100 on a garden hose is actually a smart investment, especially if it’s this 50-foot workhorse from Dramm. The no-nonsense hose is made from ultra-durable rubber that withstood every abuse our testers threw at it: yanking, pulling, prodding and even stomping on its nickel-plated brass fittings (the “crush-free” claim held true). In our usability tests, the 5/8″ hose generated plenty of pressure, connected easily to the spigot and spray nozzle and was easy to unfurl and reel back in. But make no mistake, the 10-pound Dramm is a lot of hose to lug around the yard. But, it’s built for those with serious watering and cleaning needs.

    Length: 50 ft.
    Diameter: 5/8″
    Weight: 10 lbs.
    Material: Heavy-duty rubber

    Best Value Garden Hose

    Light-Duty Garden Hose

    • Low price
    • Adequate pressure
    • Less durable construction

    This is the least expensive garden hose on our list, and it feels that way, starting with the vinyl construction, which is more prone to kinking (right out of the box, ours had a pretty good crimp at one end). The plastic fittings are also less durable than the solid brass connections on top-quality hoses. Despite all that, once our experts hooked up the hose, it did a perfectly good job spraying water where we needed it. Sure, the flimsy design made it a little harder to maneuver and it didn’t roll up as neatly as other hoses. But if you care for it properly (keeping it out of the hot sun where it could dry out and not driving over it with your car), it should give you a few seasons of service without springing a leak.

    Length: 50 ft.
    Diameter: 5/8″
    Weight: 7 lbs.
    Material: Vinyl

    Best Expandable Garden Hose

    Expandable Garden Hose

    • Compact storage
    • Solid pressure
    • Spray nozzle included
    • Latex construction less durable than some

    Expandable garden hoses use the force of the water running through them to unfurl to their full length and then contract for storage. They may seem gimmicky, but our experts were impressed by the overall quality of this version from Knoikos. When not in use, the 50-foot hose shrivels down to 17 feet, which can be folded up into a bundle about the size of a large bread loaf. The Knoikos is also the only hose we tested that came with its own spray nozzle, a nice convenience and cost-saver that we’d love to see from more manufacturers. Hookup was seamless in our tests, and the hose generated plenty of power across the nozzle’s ten spray settings. In terms of construction, the solid brass fittings are durable and rust-proof, while the latex hose makes for a lightweight, flexible design that can resist temperatures up to 113 F, according to the manufacturer.

    Length: 50 ft.
    Diameter: 5/8″
    Weight: 3 lbs.
    Material: Latex

    Best Garden Hose on Amazon

    Garden Hose

    • Superb ergonomics
    • Kink resistant

    The Flexzilla gave the Dramm a run for its money for Best Overall distinction with our testers. Both are excellent hoses, and you’ll save some money on the Flexzilla with very little tradeoff. Our testers especially liked the Flexzilla’s ergonomics, including the large gripping surfaces and the swivel action on the connections that prevent kinking and make the hose easy to maneuver. The water pressure was impressive, though slightly less than the Dramm. The Flexzilla stood up to our durability tests and the black inner tube is lead-free and drinking-water safe, nice if it will keep you hydrated in addition to the lawn, or if you’ll use it to fill the kiddie pool. One minor quibble: the distinctive green outer cover was quick to smudge in our tests, so don’t count on the hose looking new for long.

    Length: 50 ft.
    Diameter: 5/8″
    Weight: 8 lbs.
    Material: Polymer

    Best Heavy-Duty Garden Hose

    PRO Garden Hose

    • Durable design
    • Lightweight
    • Crush-proof connections

    Between its stainless steel construction and solid brass fittings, this hose lived up to the bionic billing in our tests. Given its durability, the 50-foot hose is surprisingly lightweight and easy to maneuver. Our testers noted, however, that because the hose is so flexible, it ended up in knots more frequently than other hoses. In terms of performance, the 5/8″ interior hose provided plenty of pressure, and like the Knoikos, it comes with its own nozzle. Though we weren’t able to verify the claim, Bionic touts its extreme weather resistance, including sub-zero temperatures. Based on our other experience with 304 stainless steel, the material the hose is made from, we expect it to live up to the claim, making this a good option for year-round use in colder climates (just make sure you have a frost-proof spigot or you could be stuck with a burst pipe).

    Length: 50 ft.
    Diameter: 5/8″
    Weight: 2 lbs.
    Material: Stainless steel

    Best Garden Hose for Small Spaces

    HS1500HP Garden Hose

    • Extremely compact
    • Lightweight

    If your watering needs are minimal — watering a rooftop container garden or giving the dog a bath on the back deck — a coil hose is the way to go. Our experts were impressed by this bright blue version from HoseCoil, which starts at a compact 10 inches before stretching to 15 feet at full extension. Weighing just over one pound, it’s also extremely versatile, which is nice if you need to take it RV-ing or maybe down to the marina to hose off the boat. The polyurethane construction makes for a flexible, lightweight design, though based on our experience with the polyurethane material, the HoseCoil probably won’t last as long as other hoses in our roundup. The 3/8″ house also doesn’t generate as much pressure as other top picks. But for the price, our experts still say it’s an excellent value for lightweight watering needs.

    Length: 15 ft.
    Diameter: 3/8″
    Weight: 1.1 lbs.
    Material: Polyurethane

    How we choose the best garden hoses

    Our experts start by surveying the current marketplace to identify the garden hoses you’re most likely to find on store shelves and online. We’ve been testing lawn and garden products for decades, so we looked for brands with a track record for reliability.

    Hands-on testing took place at the homes of various staff testers, which allowed us to evaluate the hoses in real-world conditions. When it came to reviewing specific models, our engineers and product testers spent more than 12 hours reviewing hundreds of technical and performance data points, including hose dimensions, materials (including lead-free claims), temperature resistance and more.

    We then put the hoses through a battery of tests over another 12-hour period. To measure ease of use, we connected each hose to the main spigot and spray nozzle multiple times, noting any difficulties connecting or signs of degradation. We also measured maneuverability, namely how easy each hose was to unfurl and reel in, and whether kinking occurred. Performance was primarily determined by flow rate and the force of the spray, using the same nozzle for each spray. To determine durability, we repeatedly dragged each hose across rough surfaces, including the edge of a brick column and metal steps; applying the same pressure and angle, we checked for early signs of wear and tear to the outer covers. We walked repeatedly on the hoses and connections and rode over them with a bike tire and the wheel of a wooden chaise lounge to ensure they didn’t crack or split.

    Our durability tests include pulling hoses at the same angle and pressure across the sharp corner of a brick pier.

    Testers also looked for signs of kinking, since this impedes water flow and can also lead to premature cracking.

    What to look for when choosing the best garden hose

    To find the best garden hose for your needs, think about the size of the property and how much use and abuse the hose is likely to receive.

    ✔️Length: Garden hoses range from 5 feet long to over 100 feet long. The size of your property is, of course, the deciding factor. Measure from your outdoor spigot to the farthest point in the yard that will require watering; remember that you’ll pick up at least 10 feet from the spray of the hose. The biggest regret we hear from consumers is when they purchase too much hose. “Heavy-duty or extra-long hoses could be more of a pain than a pleasure,” says professional gardener Jim Russell. “Lift up the hose and ask yourself if you’d want to lug it around.”

    ✔️Diameter: The diameter of the hose affects how much water can move through it. Garden hoses range from 3/8″ to 6/8″ inches. Wider hoses can move several times as much water in the same amount of time, which is especially helpful for cleaning. It will also deliver extra distance on the spray, so you might be able to get away with a shorter hose.

    ✔️ Material: This factor impacts the hose’s cost, usability and lifespan. Here are the most common options:

    • Vinyl: The least expensive garden hoses are made of vinyl. Though you save upfront, vinyl hoses are prone to kinking and cracking, plus they usually have cheap plastic connections that can lead to premature leaks.
    • Latex: Another kind of plastic, latex is a common material in expandable hoses. It’s flexible and resilient, which allows it to expand and contract. But it’s not as durable as other materials.
    • Rubber: This classic hose material is more durable than plastic, especially if it’s a high-quality rubber such as EPDM rubber — short for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer — a weather-resistant material common in the automotive industry.
    • Stainless steel: This material has many outdoor applications, from grills to furniture. Stainless steel hoses have the same benefits, namely being rust-proof and weather-resistant.

    What’s the best way to store a garden hose?

    Let’s first talk about the wrong way to store a hose — in a tangled mess underneath your spigot. This puts extra wear and tear on the hose and turns it into a tripping hazard. Plus, it’s an eyesore. “No one wants to look at a hose, so the more easily it disappears, the better,” says professional gardener Jim Russell. He’s partial to retractable hose caddies, like this version from Frontgate. “The hose is kept out of sight and putting it away is a delight,” he says.

    A hose hanger, whether wall-mounted or freestanding, is a more affordable solution for keeping your hose well-organized and out of the way, though it will still be visible. Some hangers feature a winding crank mechanism that helps reel and unreel, helpful if you’re working with a long hose of 75-feet or longer. Otherwise, a manual hanger will do the job for as little as $10.

    Why trust Good Housekeeping?

    The Good Housekeeping Institute Home Improvement Lab provides expert reviews and advice on all things home-related, including lawn and garden gear. In his role as Director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, Dan DiClerico brings more than 20 years of experience to the Institute, having reviewed thousands of products for Good Housekeeping, as well as brands like This Old House and Consumer Reports. He has also wielded all kinds of garden hoses over the years tending to the terrace and back garden of his home in Brooklyn.

    For this report, Dan worked closely with Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist & Director of Engineering at the Institute. For more than 15 years, Rachel has put her training in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics to work by researching, testing and writing about products across the home improvement space.

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